Since Myanmar’s military ordered telecoms operators to shut their networks in an effort to end protests against its February coup, Telenor’s business there has been in limbo.
As one of the few Western companies to bet on the South East Asian country after it emerged from military dictatorship a decade ago, the return to army rule led to a $783 million.
The Norwegian state-controlled firm, one of the biggest foreign investors in Myanmar, must now decide whether to ride out the turmoil, or withdraw from a market which last year contributed 7% of its earnings.
“We are facing many dilemmas,” Telenor Chief Executive Sigve Brekke told Reuters this week, highlighting the stark problems facing international firms under increased scrutiny over their exposure in Myanmar, where hundreds have been killed in protests against the Feb. 1 coup.
While Telenor plans to stay for now, the future is uncertain, Brekke said in a video interview.
Although Telenor had won praise for supporting what at the time was a fledgling democracy, activist groups have long voiced concerns about business ties to the military, which have intensified since the army retook control of the country.